We had the privilege to receive this cake from our friend in China who works directly with Bing Dao Pu'er tea master Mr. Feng Yu Gang. He is head of the Lincang Tea Factory and President of Lincang Ancient Tree Tea Association.
Lincang Tea Factory, founded in 1953, has a long history of tea making and is the most representative old-fashioned tea factory in Lincang City. "Ancient Tree" and "Yinhao" (silver tea tip) are the signature brands of the tea factory in the early days. Today, this tea cake is published within the series of "Ancient Tree Yinhao". The new series thus sets to inherit their glory and dream from 1953.
The raw materials of this cake come from the ecological ancient tea gardens in the core production area of the 5 villages in Bingdao. They were carefully selected by Mr. Zhan Peihong and blended in a golden ratio.
It is one of the higher-end tea cakes that we have in our collection. After much deliberation, we decided to taste the sample cake together on a sunny afternoon.
Open opening the sample pack, one immediately smells the aroma. Slightly minty and citrusy mixed with the authentic tea flavor. Calms one down just by smelling the raw cake.
We used 90-100 degree celsius water throughout the rounds. For teaware we used our bamboo Qingci porcelain pot of 160ml. We used 5g tea.
First two brew: 5s. One cannot help noticing the amazing high aroma in the soup. No bitterness at all at this point, only very mellow taste that's worth stopping the moment and enjoy. Accompanied by a very long sweet lingering after taste. The color of the soup is a pretty amber color.
From the third brew: 5s: It was bitter for the first 3 seconds, which turned really quickly to sweetness. It also has a strong 'Sheng Jin‘ effect, meaning stimulating saliva. A very hearty experience.
4th brew: 7s. Bing Dao is said to be loved by female drinkers given by its famous 'minty' hint. We start to taste from this round the subtle mint aftertaste, very pleasant.
5th brew: 20s. No big changes from brew 4 and 3.
6th brew 30s. At this point, the initial bitter taste is no longer there. Only the crystal sweetness, slightly herbal. The soup has been giving glutinous mouth feel, another key characteristic of good Bingdao tea, although the consistency is still smooth and light.
7th brew: 45s. The sweetness is still pronounced. It got more minty.
We continued on the session until after 10 rounds. We stopped noting down the exact notes but were just enjoying the tea itself. There were definitely some more twist and turns in the journey and each round was still impressing us.
Finally we did some math. 5g tea from this cake would cost us of about 5 euro. This, compared to the wonderful afternoon and evening that the two of us had, was a steal.